Legal Writing

There She Blows! ‘Tis the Contract for Moby Dick!

Agreement made between Harper and Brothers of the city of New York, Publishers, of the one part and Herman Melville of Pittsfield Massachusets [sic] of the other part, witnesseth— That the said Harper and Brothers have agreed to publish and…


It Was the Curb’s Fault [Updated]

From a Courthouse News summary of a case recently filed in San Francisco, including a sentence presumably taken from the complaint: Paulina H. v. Flyers Energy LLC et al., CGC-12-525132 (S.F. Superior Ct. filed Oct. 15, 2012) Trip and fall. The unmarked raised…



Judge Concurs to Say Majority Opinion Is Too Damn Long

Although he concurred in the result of the decision last Thursday in Holsey v. Warden, Judge J.L. Edmondson of the 11th Circuit wrote separately to say he did not join in the opinion itself only because, at 104 pages, it…





Hooray for Jack Daniels (and Its Lawyers)

Especially given the recent Charles Carreon nastiness, it is nice to get a reminder that many lawyers are not (and need not be) assholes. Cease-and-desist letters are a frequent source of evidence to the contrary. These are often necessary in…


OMG, “SNF” Is BS, LHS Tells NARUC and DOE

We … remind the parties that our Handbook of Practice and Internal Procedures states that "parties are strongly urged to limit the use of acronyms" and "should avoid using acronyms that are not widely known." Brief-writing, no less than "written English, is…


Does Congress Need to Be Held Back a Grade?

There are various software tools available that will let you determine the "grade level" and/or complexity of a particular piece of text. The Sunlight Foundation ran a couple of decades' worth of the Congressional Record through one of them, and the…